We’ve all seen the images from Beijing, millions of residents chocking on dirty yellow smog. It’s the result of China’s dependency on coal as a primary fuel - something the current government plans to attack in a bold energy initiative focussed on solar, wind and other renewable sources.
The goal is to curb greenhouse gases, a plan that will create 13 million jobs and pump $350bn into China’s economy between now and 2020 according to the New York Times.
It’s a move that plays to China’s strengths as an industrial powerhouse. China has already helped spur the renewable sector by aggressively driving down manufacturing costs for wind and solar manufacturing. As a result, these renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly competitive with power generation from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.
By moving away from a focus on reducing carbon emissions the United States risks turning over the lead in the renewable sector to China.